Day: September 17, 2008

Hillary McCain-Obama

I’d like to put forward a new candidate. Her name is Hillary McCain-Obama, and she is perfect! She has all the credentials needed to be a great president. She is a wonderful legislator, has great military experience and projects a unifying and inspiring presence that mesmerizes not only people here in the United States, but all over the world. And as an African-American woman who is not trying to hide her grey hair, she is poised to make history. The point of this absurd exaggeration is to show that none of the presidential contenders is perfect for the role, but then, very few presidents were; the role is too demanding of people who want to fill it. The U.S. presidency involves many responsibilities and it is nearly impossible for one person to have the talents or the energy to be equally strong at all of them. No wonder Thomas Jefferson called the presidency a "splendid misery." A president must perform three main functions. He must be head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief. Since each of these has elements that contradict the others, no one person can fit the bill. The head of state, in the words of Charles de Gaulle, should embody "the spirit of the nation." This person is the face of the country, the king surrogate, the symbol of the values for which the nation...

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Last Call for Global Policy Special Edition

The deadline is fast approaching… Topic areas under consideration include, but aren’t limited to: Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development; International Law and Security; Poverty Alleviation and Human Development; or any other topic in the international context. SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY September 19, 2008 Submissions should be between 2,500 and 5,000 words and contain a cover page with your name, e-mail address, and phone number. For more information, visit our Submission Guidelines...

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American-Style Science and Technology

The U.S. has a lot of failed policies concerning areas such as economics and foreign affairs, but it seems one place they seem to be able to get it right is with science and technology policy. The most apparent reason for this is that the government has a good policy when it comes to making science and technology policy: Don't make policies. Most of the current policy regarding science and technology is old. There is a patent system, and the government marks money for research efforts, which is the main vehicle of policymaking. There are occasions when the government decides that a policy decision is necessary on this front. Unfortunately, science and technology policymaking it is too often initiated for the wrong reasons, created ignorantly or without enough discussion, and executed poorly. Two recent examples of this effect are the whole body of legislation dealing with media rights, like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and our current energy policies. In the case of the DMCA-like legislation, a powerful and wealthy industry whined and complained until the government responded by backing them up and trying to protect their interests. Unfortunately, this was the wrong way to handle the situation. The problem stems from media corporations’ defiance in the face of a changing market. In a knee-jerk reaction to a threat to their current business model, they tried to halt...

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